Americans Hate Tingle: Although the Darkstalkers series was a genuine hit in its homeland of Japan, with each of its 3 main games making the top 5 of its respective year's arcade income charts, it was never more than a Cult Classic internationally.
Awesome Art: The game is extremely stylish, from the varying art style to the top-notch animations and spritework. Capcom really put their guns on it.
Cult Classic: The Darkstalkers series has never seen the mainstream popularity that Mortal Kombat, Tekken, or even its sister series Street Fighter has gotten. But thanks to continued exposure of the characters through the Vs. Capcom series, it has a large, dedicated fanbase who loves its atypical characters and wishes that Capcom would continue the series.
Lord Raptor/Zabel Zarock: his rock star nature and hilarious, hammy yet brutal quotes and fighting style have made him very popular amongst Western fans, many who wanted to see him in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 as DLC. He made it into Namco × Capcom and Project X Zone as one of the villains.
Demitri (with this character, one may also say "Evil is Cool and Sexy"). He is a malevolent vampire who wants to conquer the demon world and sees everyone but himself as inferior, still has his fair share of fans.
Jedah, who plays the "evil" part even more than Demitri.
Fandom Rivalry: A one-sided variant with Street Fighter, as many Darkstalkers fans are incensed that the former keeps getting more and more promotion and games, while the latter is constantly screwed over and relegated to, if anything, appearances and cameos in crossover games. To put things in perspective, here's what was said at SDCC 2013 when Capcom announced that no new Darkstalkers games were planned...
Felicia and Jon Talbain. Almost every media adaptation has paired them up, or at least had them run into each other on a regular basis. Capcom does a suspicious amount of teasing with these two. Although there's nothing to suggest it in-game, in every Darkstalkers property outside of the games to which Capcom has given their stamp of approval, from the US cartoon series and OAV to the UDON comics, Jon and Felicia always share a bond of one variety or another; they're either friends, comrades in battle, traveling companions, or even living together. A manga from 1996 actually has the two sleeping together in the same bed.
You'd be surprised at how many times the pairing of Morrigan/Felicia pops up among the fandom. Morrigan's pet names for Felicia (apparently, Morrigan still calls Felicia "kitten" according to Cross Edge, and in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Morrigan tags out with Felicia with the call of "Kitty!") do not help in the slightest.
Donovan/Hsien-Ko was likely started due to their interactions in the anime.
Mixed with Crossover Ship, Morrigan is frequently paired with Dante of Devil May Cry fame (potentiated by Marvel vs. Capcom 3). Along with Dante/Bayonetta, this ship seems to be more popular than all of the actual pairings in-universe for both series.
Game-Breaker: In Vampire Savior, the Darkstalkers game still most played by the competitive fighting community, Q-Bee, Sasquatch, and Talbain are infamous for being three of the most powerful characters in the game whilst also being some of the easiest. B.B. Hood also gets some hate for her "unblockable" (it's not really, but let's not get too technical here), and Lord Raptor is also extremely good, but he's also very hard to play.
A robot that crash landed on Earth somehow games amnesia and befriends a boy, sacrificing himself to save him and...wait a minute, are we talking Huitzil and Cecil or Hogarth and the Iron Giant?
I Am Not Shazam: The Bishamon in Vampire Savior/Savior 2/Hunter 2 and one of the Bishamon in 3 (as noted on the Characters page) is not the man who was enslaved by the will of his armor, but the armor itself having gained its own sentience.
Felicia. She suffers constant discrimination, abuse, and misunderstanding throughout the game franchise and the spin-off series, but still manages to keeps her cheerful attitude and hopes of a better future.
Jon Talbain used to be a normal nobleman until one night he turned into a werewolf. From then on, he was treated as an outcast, even as he learned to control his beastly impulses due to Training from Hell. Children get along with him, but Jon still lives in fear of brutalizing them with his beast fury. Despite this, he never gives in to dispair and continues to fight for those he cares for, even if they despise him.
Victor. His story may even edge out Donovan's as the most tragic in the series. At first, he believes his deceased creator to be ignoring him for not being strong enough. Shortly after the jarring realization that the old man had actually passed on, his sister suddenly ceases to function, leaving him alone once more (which is even more heart-crushing in the text epilogue of Night Warriors). Eventually, he realizes that the only way to revive Emily is to give his own life, which he does without hesitation. Worst of all, he is ignorant of the fact that her body, being a "prototype" of sorts, will probably not be able to continuously generate electric "life force" and is thus likely to run out of power before long.
Jerkass Woobie: Bulleta/B.B Hood. Her grandmother was killed by a werewolf, but still...
Yoshinori Ono's DARKSTALKERS ARE NOT DEAD announcement seems to be working its way up. In the case of MvC3 (with the possibility of an all Darkstalkers team of Morrigan, Felicia, and Hsien-Ko being defeated) and Resurrection's unfortunate commercial failure, this is sometimes twisted into DARKSTALKERS ARE DEAD.
Morrigan's Darkness Illusion super was the first move to use the button press sequence (LP, LP, F, LK, HP) that is now associated with Akuma'sShun Goku Satsu.
Apparently the Shun Goku Satsu was even nicknamed "Goukiness Illusion" by some Japanese players at the time of its debut.
Despite what some may think, Dee, Donovan's evil form, was actually not something Capcom made just for the PS2 release. He was in fact an abandoned concept from the development of Vampire Savior. Producer Noritaka Funamizu specifically mentions this Demitri-headswap Donovan in the book All About Vampire Savior, and notes that he was "nearly finished."
One-Scene Wonder: Despite being in the first episode for all of ten minutes, Raptor's appearance was one of the highlights of the OVA.
Polished Port: The Sega Saturn port of Vampire Savior is not only arcade perfect, it even brings back the three missing characters from Night Warriors, complete with their own single-player endings. The PlayStation EX Edition port, while not as good by comparison, includes all 18 characters as well, plus both upgrades (Savior 2 and Hunter 2).
Rikuo. It usually has absolutely nothing to do with the actual character or the way he plays, but simply because he's a fishman with transformation abilities. Not helped by the fact he was the eighth opponent (the last before Huitzil and Pyron) in the original game and thus one of the hardest.
"Apparently the last member of his disgusting aquatic race, Rikuo (Aulbath in Japan) desperately searches the world in hopes of finding a hideous mate so he can repropagate his loathsome species. Yes, I am biased."
Scrappy Mechanic: In Resurrection, the YouTube upload function, since it only uploads in 360p resolution. Exclusive to the 360 version, however, is the high probability that your replay's audio will desync and a portion of the match will be cut off. And in some cases, the game won't let you upload replays at all. The option is permanently grayed out even after you link your Gamertag to your YouTube account.
"Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: The Darkstalkers series often comes across as "just another 90s fighting game" to those who first experience it now, likely because so many of the new things it brought to the table such as chain combos, guard cancels, air blocking, ES specials, improvedanimation, and a cast full of something other than the same old martial arts archetypes have now been copied by so many other fighters (including its own predecessor, Street Fighter).
Apparently even some American game reviewers in the 90s didn't notice several of the mechanical differences from Street Fighter, so to some extent Darkstalkers was underappreciated in its time, too.
Spiritual Successor: Since Capcom has yet to actually make another game for this series, fans have had to turn to other alternatives. Two noteworthy successors in particular are Killer Instinct (2013) and Skull Girls, both of which have heavily-stylized non-human characters among its roster.
Stoic Woobie: Anita. Played straight in both accounts: According to her backstory, her parents were killed by a Darkstalker and the people from the orphanage where she stayed shunned her as a witch. To make things worse, the only person that actually cared for her (in this case Donovan) sacrificed his last remains of humanity to protect her.
Dee's ending in the Japan-exclusive Vampire: Darkstalkers Collection: After killing Jedah, the game proceeds as though Dee (an evil version of Donovan) is about to fight a young woman who is not named, but is, in truth, an older Anita. The game fades to white before the fight begins, and as the credits roll, Anita is shown at a graveyard, suggesting that she ended the suffering of the man who once saved her soul.
They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: The third game in the series, Vampire Savior, received criticism from existing fans of the series at the time of its release. Complaints were made about many aspects of the game, including the changes to the system mechanics and movesets, the removal of characters from the previous games, and the addition of new characters who many saw as out of place.
Tier-Induced Scrappy: Part of the hatred towards Jon Talbain is because he's powerful and easy to use. Many players consider it cheesy to use him.
What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Despite the bright animation and lack of excessive blood, this game is not for children. The game has a huge amount of Fanservice, deep emotional stories, and brutal violence. It's actually a miracle that the series didn't get an "M" rating at all. Though to be fair, "M" rated games weren't popular yet when the series started out.
Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Lilith. Just take a look at her backstory. Played straight in her ending (Morrigan's ending, despite Lilith losing, offers a more satisfactory conclusion as Morrigan welcomes Lilith back into her body, resulting in a win-win situation for both of them: Morrigan's power gets exponentially multiplied (possibly reaching full level and Lilith's sense of existence is assured).
Critical Research Failure: The very idea that the Darkstalkers franchise was marketed towards kids has become one of the biggest criticisms against the show. Arguably, this applies to all the characters too since the show ended up being an In Name Only product with little to no connection to the source material it was based on.
Several of the show's staff commented how they felt like this show was going to be the next best thing like Ghostbusters. The show proved very unpopular and didn't last 13 episodes.
The episode "Donovan's Bane" has Morrigan trick a a drifter into coming into her arms and attempts drain him of his life energy. Fortunately, Donovan attacking Morrigan causes the kiss to break and the drifter escapes with his life. The Udon comics, which depicts Morrigan as an even more malicious person, would have her trick nice men like a fisherman named Jack and an archaeologist and kiss them as well. Unfortunately for them, nobody came to their aid before Morrigan drained them dry. In some ways, the cartoon's depiction of Morrigan would end up being a recurring thing in adaptations.
He Really Can Act: The voice acting is considered questionable at best and ridiculously narm at worst... with one exception. While Scott McNeil's skill as a voice actor isn't in question (especially if you've heard his various other roles), his performance as Lord Raptor is considered a highlight and one of the show's legitimately good points, to the point that he was brought back to voice the character again in the English dub of Night Warriors: Darkstalker's Revenge and is considered the fan-preferred English voice for Lord Raptor in any media the character appears in.
Pyron's ship A.I. is a dead ringer for 343 Guilty Spark, right down to the Smug Snake personality, and they even have extremely similar voices.
Within the franchise, the episode with the Crystal Skull has Demitri using it to banish his enemies to another dimension. Then Vampire Savior comes and gives us Jedah's Majigen ("Wicked Dimension"), where most of the cast are drawn to.
The "you are curiously attractive for a fishman" line is even funnier after The Shape of Water came out.
Idiot Plot: The series finale involves Pyron's mean brother Terramon arriving to help his brother conquer the Earth since he's has failed at it himself. So instead of having Pyron tell his brother to get lost or challenge him over who gets the Earth, he instead invites all the Darkstalkers, both heroes and villains, to a fancy dinner party to prove to his brother that he's successfully conquered the planet by enslaving the other Darkstalkers opposing him in order to trick him into going away after his visit. Naturally, this doesn't work out.
Video Game Movies Suck: Well, video game cartoons suck. This cartoon was unfortunately one of the many failed attempts to make a show based on a popular videogame. ScrewAttack has listed it as one of the worst cartoons ever based on a videogame simply for making it unrecognizable to the source material entirely.
Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: During Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors, Felicia is attacked by a witch named Majorette and her own catperson named Thomas, who should not exist due to the fact that Felicia's species is a One-Gender Race. Neither of them are from the games and are seen ever again in the comic or its sequel crossover with Street Fighter. Jon and Felicia even lampshade they have no idea who she is.
Complete Monster: In Darkstalkers & Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors, by Ken Siu-Chong, Pyron is a sadistic space deity who enjoys devouring planets to gain power, having done so to his own home planet. Noticing the young planet Earth, Pyron waits for it to ripen and grow before promising to return and eat it. Spending the next millennia feasting on populated planets, Pyron heads back to the populated Earth, deciding to fight Morrigan and Demitri for his own amusement before he tries to devour the world completely.
Designated Hero: The comic book version of Morrigan Aensland is just as evil a monster as Demitri, Jedah and Pyron, but that certainly didn't stop Ken from portraying her as one of the heroes or give her a moment that's supposed to give her sympathy (Belial's death).
Draco in Leather Pants: The comic book version of Morrigan, is defended by some readers who justify her actions as being nothing outright evil and instead just a succubus' nature. Even Udon's publishing director Matt Moylan, when asked about that version of Morrigan being evil, has attempted to justify it by saying she only behaves like succubi do. This is denying that the comic book version of Morrigan shows genuine pleasure at killing people, a complete lack of empathy for anybody but her father and servants and commits some very heinous acts (tricking a man by pretending to be a homeless widow and killing an innocent woman brainwashed by Demitri).
Harsher in Hindsight: A man associated with the sea (a fisherman instead of a lighthouse keeper) let's a woman or royal descent and with supernatural abilities (a succubus instead of a denizen of Atlantis) stay at his home. If Morrigan were closer to her canon self, making her not interested in stealing Jack's soul, there's a chance this could have resulted in the two having a son, akin to the pre-Crisis origins of Aquaman before the New 52 and 2018 film reintroduced the concept.
The Scrappy: Morrigan's more villainous depiction in the comic is not well liked among Darkstalkers fans due to how out of character it is compared to her game counterpart. While the game version gets her nourishment from enjoyment and is actually rather friendly for a succubus, this version is an unrepentant murderer who shows zero empathy to anyone outside her father and two servants, and even then she goes behind their backs to snack on innocent human souls.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Big-Lipped Alligator Moment not withstanding, Majorette was a Darkstalker unique to the world of the Udon comics. Much like how the Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog created its own animal characters for their take on a video game's world, this would have been an ample opportunity for Udon to create their own Darkstalker, giving her her own backstory, abilities and connections to evens with Demitri, Morrigan and Jedah, and there was the possibility of her developing a rivalry with Felicia. She's gone as soon as the comic introducing her ends, not even so much as a mention. Makes one question why she's there to begin with.
Since most of the characters are demoted to cameos at best, several Darkstalkers do not get proper screentime or development.
The first issue presents Pyron finishing off an entire alien race and consuming their planet. There was a good chance of showing Pyron fighting several more alien warriors on his journey to earth, and explore a bit more what exactly impressed him about earth enought to spare the planet at the time. Instead, he basically vanishes from the story until he finally arrives on earth, where he lasts about 10 pages before being killed off.
While Jon and Felicia receive protagonism, they are mostly a side-plot to the story and don't interact a lot to the other characters. While the crossover with the Street Fighter comics show that they got thier happy ending, Felicia's goal of becoming a music star and getting peace between humans and darkstalkers is ignored, and Jon is mostly there to be with Felicia.
Ironically, Morrigan as well. While she does get a lot of screentime and an arc on her own, the fact that she is portrayed as an evil and unsympathetic monster kills what could've a good chance of exploring her character beyond fanservice. Giving she is already popular and the main character of the franchise at this point, the comics could have explored her usual times in the human world (NOT KILLING HUMANS), how she interacts ad relates to humans, her growing up regarding her responsabilities as queen of Makai, her rivalry/relationship with the rest of the cast, etc. Instead, she is portrayed as an evil succubus who spends her entire screentime tricking and killing innocent humans, and when the story has her accepting her responsabilities, she justs accepts to be a queen too fast and does not grow up as a character at all.
Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Morrigan is technically the protagonist of the story as the comic mostly revolves around her. However, it's hard to care for her, her relationship with her adopted father or her struggles against Demitri and Pyron when she's depicted as an irredeemable monster who sexually assaults and murders innocent men for a living.
Uncanny Valley: While the comics possesses a beautiful art style, there are times where the characters' faces look a bit creepy or off, and the female characters appear to have the same face draw/model.
The Woobie: Jack, the fisherman from the first issue. He encountered a young woman named Ann who was homeless due to claiming to have lost her husband, so he let her stay in his place for the night. However, when she offers to sleep with him and he turns her down out of kindness, she reveals herself to be Morrigan Aensland, who is not as nice or fun in this comic and decides to go for the direct approach with him, consuming his soul and killing him. By morning, Jack is found as a lifeless husk with blood under his corpse and a look of utter horror on his face. All of this because he thought he was helping someone who needed a bit of human kindness. The kindest thing Morrigan does for him is keeping his soul inside her body, living in eternal bliss and pleasure. Even then, it was more to feed on his soul than anything else.